Have you ever gazed at the many selections provided at your local grocery store and wondered what the best choice might be? I’m sure you have heard that organic is best, but when you compare the price difference between conventionally grown foods to organically grown, you may have thought, is it really worth it? I am going to cover what USDA certified organic actually means, and the overall benefits of consuming organic produce.
Lets quickly look at what the certification actually certifies:
– The production of food is federally regulated in order to bear the certification
– Soil condition must be maintained with green sustainable practices
– Only approved naturally occurring fertilizers can be used
– No synthetic pesticides are allowed
– Strict guidelines for the raising of animals used in meat production
– Organic processed foods can not contain artificial additives
– Non GMO
The above list is the main identifying factors for what an organic certification actually means. I am already convinced organic is better but if you need more information, lets continue.
How does one obtain an organic certification? Well, it involves proper paperwork and fees. The fees are variable considering location and what the agents charge in any given area. After the paperwork process is completed, an inspector will then come and inspect the farm and production area, making sure all standards are met before giving the USDA Organic Certification. Yearly inspections and reviews are then completed to ensure operations continue to follow the proper guidelines.
The soil condition in which produce is grown and raised is extremely important in order to be deemed USDA Organic. All functions in regard to the soil must be sustainable practices and no prohibited substances can be used on/in the soil for three whole years before certification can be gained. That means no synthetic, manmade fertilizers or pesticides. That in turn means, produce that provides a higher concentration of nutrients with no harmful pesticides included.
In order for meat produce to be labeled USDA Organic, all animals must be raised naturally according to their behaviors. So, animals who need to graze and forage must be allowed to do so, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are allowed. These production guidelines lead to a much healthier happier animal, ensuring ethical treatment and that you are consuming quality produce.
Any processed food that maintains the organic seal must not contain any artificial ingredients except for the limited few like enzymes, and baking soda etc. All produce labeled USDA Organic are also verified to be non GMO. Genetically Modified Organisms are strictly prohibited in all food with the certified label.
Now, what are the effects of consuming organic foods? You will have an overall better sense of well being. On a cellular level your body will thrive and perform as it should. The key here with organic food is that the typical conventional pesticides and additives are banned in their production. So you are getting a wholesome product full of nutrients, without the neurotoxins and other harmful ingredients that are generally present in non organic foods. And with the mention of neurotoxins, that leads us to matters of the mind. Neurotoxins and Endocrine disruptors are generally found in the pesticides used on conventionally grown foods. When you consume non organic foods you maintain higher levels of these poisons in your body. They affect your thinking, and how the brain and body communicate, by interrupting hormone levels, thyroid function, and in children, they can completely disrupt development. I could go on and on but for the purposes of this article I think I’ll leave it there.
The USDA Organic Certification is not the only way to obtain organically grown produce. I am fortunate enough to live close to a local farm that provides organically grown foods to my local area. But for those in need of an organic choice who must shop within the limits of a grocer, the USDA seal is a good way to verify what you are purchasing is in fact organic and regulated, making it worth the extra money you may spend. Lets grow healthy minds and bodies by choosing food that is produced organically that can improve not only ourselves but the world we live in. Thanks for reading!
Mcevoy, Miles. Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-what usda-organic-label-means Mar 22, 2012
Mcevoy, Miles. Organic 101: What Organic Farming (and Processing) Doesn’t Allow. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/12/16/organic-101-what-organic- farming-and-processing-doesnt-allow Dec 16, 2011
Becoming A Certified Operation. United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certification/becoming-certified
Andrews, Ryan. Precision Nutrition. All About Endocrine Disruptors. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-endocrine-disruptors